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Navigating Friendships: A College Student's Guide to Maintaining Relationships

By: Meredith Lay



College is an exciting time filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Amidst the craziness of it all, between the strenuous academics and dynamic social scenes, maintaining meaningful relationships becomes crucial for personal growth and happiness. Building a support system to navigate this chapter of life can enhance the college experience. Friendships can be complex. Here are my tips on successfully navigating friendships during one's academic journey.


Balancing Academics and Social Life: A balance between academics and social life is essential. Prioritize your studies while setting aside dedicated time for socializing. Plan your workload throughout the week, allowing brain breaks and opportunities to catch up with friends. Consider scheduling regular lunch or dinner dates with friends or plan study sessions. Efficient time management and planning contribute to a healthy balance. 


Handling Conflicts Maturely: Conflicts are inevitable in college, but it's important to remember that how we handle conflicts defines the strength of a relationship. Avoiding issues can do more harm than good. Foster open communication with your friends and work together to find solutions. Approach conflict with empathy and listen actively to understand one another and move forward accordingly. 


Quality over Quantity: It's not about the number of friends, but the depth of connections. Focus on cultivating meaningful friendships with people who bring out the best in you. Pay attention to those with whom you feel a genuine connection and who continuously support you in all aspects of life. Quality friends contribute to a supportive social network; don't worry about being friends with everyone. 


Supporting Each Other's Goals: Encourage and help your friends pursue their academic and personal goals. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, and push them to be the best version of themselves. Also, be sure to lend a listening ear when challenging times arise. Be there for your friends, and they'll be there for you!


Making Time for Self-Care: While relationships are important, so are you. Prioritize self-care and treat yourself with the same care you extend your friends. Amid all the socializing, set aside time to recharge and have "me time." Healthy connections also depend on caring for your mental and physical well-being; remember to put yourself first sometimes. 

By incorporating these tips into your college experience, you can build and maintain friendships that contribute positively to your personal and academic journey. The college years are not just about academics but also an opportunity to forge meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.

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